Heavenly Slow Cooker Meals: Sweet Pepper, Corn and Potato Stew

You know what’s really great? Frozen vegetables.

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Everything outside has been noticeably dead since mid-January when the temperatures plummeted and sucked the life out of everything. I’m skeptical about where my tomatoes are coming from at a time like this, because I’m pretty sure it’s not the farm upstate.

So frozen veggies! What an idea! For these slow cooker meals, it’s a great solution. Not least of all because I’m usually only making a slow cooker meal in the first place because I am trying to save time. So if I don’t have to slice up a vegetable, that’s a big win.

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One quick note about this dish – if you don’t eat dairy or you hate the idea of buttermilk, leave that ingredient out of the recipe. Another option is to top the dish with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.

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What You Need:

  • 5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 10oz bag frozen sweet corn
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers (I used red, yellow and orange for some summertime color)
  • 5 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeded if desired to reduce spiciness)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded cheddar

What You Do:

Put everything except the buttermilk into the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8 hours, or high heat for 4.

When it’s done, add the buttermilk and stir well. Top with cheddar cheese.

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Mexican Potato Tacos

Even for New England, this winter was pretty terrible. But the tides are turning, as they say.

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We can all feel it – it’s the feeling that leads you to believe wearing flats to work instead of boots is a great idea, until you go out for lunch and realize you’re severely under-dressed because – duh – it’s still winter and 21 degrees actually isn’t that warm after all…it’s just warmer than 10.

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The feeling of spring around the corner also comes from a renewed interest in my favorite activity – running. Suddenly, races are back on the table. Training has begun. I am starting to think of the weekends as good days for long runs instead of a good opportunity to catch up on my favorite TV shows.

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And of course with a renewed interest in running comes a renewed interest in my diet. Pulling myself out of hibernation and the excess of Popchips, cookies, wine and beer that kept me warm all winter is quite liberating. And it starts with these potato corn tacos, inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Emerging Adult Eats.

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What You Need:

  • 1 lb (about 2 cups) fingerling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into quarter-inch long strips
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced into quarter-inch long strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • Corn tortillas (I used Mission)
  • Your favorite salsa (I used Newman’s Own hot salsa)
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced into strips

What You Do:

In a large pot filled with boiling water, boil the potatoes uncovered for about 20 minutes or until a fork easily pokes through. Run one or two under cold water and taste-test to be sure they’re done.

Drain potatoes and set aside.

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While the potatoes are cooking: In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the onions and saute, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until they begin to get soft.

Add the peppers and saute, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika and green chilies and combine.

Remove from heat.

Combine the potatoes and pepper/spice mixture. Stir well.

Lightly toast the corn tortillas in a non-greased, nonstick frying pan over low heat. They only take a few seconds on each side to toast, and the tortilla will begin to wrinkle and smoke when it gets too hot.

Lay out each tortilla and top generously with the potato filling. Garnish with a drop of salsa, some shredded cabbage and the avocado, and they’re ready to eat!

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Easy Herbed Roasted Whole Chicken

I know, it wasn’t too long ago that most of us gorged ourselves on turkey. But I was perusing this lovely farm store near my house and came across the most fantastic meat counter ever. I’m talking all local, grass-fed meats, at shockingly reasonable prices.
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Because of the recent success of our BBQ pulled chicken dinner, I couldn’t resist picking up a whole chicken to cook in a different way. I also learned something really important about roasting meat. Since I’m apparently super lame and don’t own a roasting pan, I had to come up with a quick alternative way to cook it without lighting my oven on fire or ruining the entire chicken.
The trick is to cook the chicken over a bed of sliced onions and potatoes. Doing so gives it a nice lift off the bottom of the pan, plus you get to enjoy a delicious chicken-infused side dish with dinner.
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The best thing about roasting a whole chicken is how much food you get out of it that will last for days. Kind of like…the turkey from Thanksgiving. But let’s not focus on that.
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What You Need: 
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
  • 4  medium red or yellow potatoes, sliced
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 bay leaves

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 450F

In a large oven-safe pot (preferably round with high sides), line the bottom with the potatoes and onions.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil through lemon juice and mix well.

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Generously slather the olive oil rub over the entire chicken, making sure to spread it over the bottom as well. I also lifted up the skin in places and applied the rub underneath and directly on the chicken meat. This will really infuse the flavor of the rub during the roasting process.

Place the chicken bottom-side-down in the pot.

Place the bay leaves on the potatoes and onions around the chicken.

Cook the chicken covered on 450F for about 10-15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350F and cook the chicken for about 20 minutes per pound. If you aren’t sure exactly how heavy your chicken is, roast it for 30 minutes and then check the temperature with a meat thermometer – your chicken is ready when it reads 180F. (Since all ovens vary, you should always check the temp even if you do know the weight just to be sure it’s done).

Pro Tip: You can make a rub for this chicken out of some various ingredients depending on what you like. Substitute the rosemary for fresh chopped sage or thyme, and use 2 tablespoons of melted butter instead of the olive oil.

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Imitation Jambalaya Stew with Chorizo

This weekend was a bit of a wash, literally and figuratively. It rained and/or snowed almost the entire two days, basically rendering any serious prospects of trail running, hiking or long walks with our dog impossible. Well, unless we wanted to get drenched and freeze our fingers and toes off, which we didn’t.

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On top of the weather, we also woke up Saturday in a bit of a haze from Friday night’s Halloween shenanigans (worth it) and sacrificed actual productivity for egg sandwiches and re-watching movies on HBO (also worth it).

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Can you guess what we’re dressed as?

But we finally put on our rain coats and begrudgingly left Madison behind to head to the Farmer’s Market’s last outdoor market of the season. I almost can’t believe we’re already making the transition to the winter market, but then again, it snowed on Sunday, so nothing really surprises me anymore.

It was raining, it was cold, and Mike had just found out that a show we bought tickets to see that night had been cancelled, so the day really wasn’t shaping up very well… until we found chorizo.

Let me tell you – chorizo has some serious mood-improving qualities. With our night suddenly wide open, the promise of a chorizo-filled dinner was the answer to turning a fairly crappy day into an actually pretty OK one. We scuttled around from market tent to market tent, buying up all different kinds of veggies to put in our chorizo stew – just a germ of an idea so far but quickly shaping into something great.

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A few mildly productive hours later, we were back home, prepping our rainy day chorizo stew. Mike wanted it to be like a jambalaya, so we gave it just enough kick to have that Louisiana Creole flavor. He was head over heels for the chorizo, and I was excited for the return of tri-color carrots into my life. A perfect match.

What You Need:

  • About 6 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 4-5 medium potatoes (any kind is fine) cut into cubes
  • 4-5 large tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 small-medium bell peppers, cut into small slices
  • 1 cup chives, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 large chorizo sausage links, sliced into small rounds
  • 1 cup rice cooked according to package directions

What You Do:

Because the potatoes and carrots will take longer to cook, start these first. Fill a 5-quart pasta pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots, and boil until both are soft. Don’t overcook these as you will be adding them to a hot sauce at the end.

While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, start your tomato sauce. The best thing about this dish is the spicy tomato sauce, which is easy to make by quartering your tomatoes and gently pulsing them in a food processor until they have formed a chunky sauce.

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Pour the sauce into a wok or large skillet and heat on low-medium.

Make your rice, and keep it warm until the meal is complete. This dish is great over a bed of rice, but you can eliminate the extra carbs if you want and it will still deliver.

In another pan, heat a tablespoon of oil on low-medium heat and add your sausage. Let them simmer and flip with the bottom sides are browned.

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Also in another pan, on low-medium heat, heat a teaspoon of olive oil and add the garlic and onion and cook until the onions are translucent and soft.

Add the bell peppers, chives and the jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. When they’re ready, add them to the tomato sauce and stir well.

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Strain the potatoes and carrots when ready and add those to the tomato sauce.

Also add the sausage, careful to leave behind any oil or juices left in the pan.

Then, add your spices, and stir well, bringing to a slight boil.

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Leave the entire jambalaya stew on the stove to, well, stew, for about 10 minutes before serving, just to make sure all the flavors can interact.

Serve over a bed of rice.

Pro Tip: Jambalaya is traditionally a spicy surf and turf dish, so this could be great (and authentic instead of imitation) with shrimp, mussels and/or scallops as well. The great thing about this dish is being able to make the sauce as spicy or as mild as you would like, so feel free to mess around with the ingredients and do frequent taste testing! 🙂

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Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Ooooh Fall I love you.

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Every time I find myself feeling slightly saddened about the end of summer and impending onslaught of cold weather and snow storms, I have to stop myself and go take a walk. Right now, the trees are BEAUTIFUL (living through a New Hampshire winter is worth it!) and the temperatures are PERFECT. There is literally nothing about this season to dislike.

Potato and Pesto Pics (21)And I could go on and on about how this is the best time of year for farm-fresh veggies, but if you’re reading this you probably already know this, so instead I will just move ahead to the reason you’re here and give you this recipe for potato and roasted red pepper soup. It has all the farm veggie essentials loaded right in, and is super easy to make.

What You Need: 

  • 6-7 smaller sized red potatoes, skins on, diced into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-7 red small-medium sized red peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, roughly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • About 3 cups vegetable broth. I made mine using my tried and true vegetable broth recipe.
  • 2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup chives chopped
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

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What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350F

Add your veggies to a large baking dish and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft and emitting juices.

While the veggies are cooking, fill a large pot with enough water to cover all your cubed potatoes. Add potatoes, cover, and bring to a slow boil, watching to ensure the water doesn’t foam and bubble over.

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When boiling, turn down to a simmer, and leave covered, cooking until potatoes are soft and fork tines easily pierce through.

When both the potatoes and vegetables are done cooking, add everything to your food processor and pulse, being careful to just roughly blend and not puree. We want this to be a little chunky with standout potato pieces!

Transfer the blended mixture to the large pot and, keeping the pot on low-medium heat, and add 3 cups of vegetable broth (you may need slightly more or less depending on your mixture and how thick you prefer your soup.)

Stir well until well mixed and soupy.

Pour into bowls, and top with chives and cheese. Then, enjoy!

Pro Tip: This is an awesome way to create almost a week’s worth of food without really doing too much. You can beef up this soup to an even larger total yield by adding additional ingredients like your favorite type of bean (cooked and roughly blended into the mixture), shredded chicken (cooked and added at the same time as the vegetable broth), or a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, with juices (this will cut down on the amount of broth you have to add).

Rhubarb and Green Bean Dijon Potato Salad

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I have to admit, this post is kind of a cheat on my part. I do not think it’s ACTUALLY rhubarb season anymore, although to be fair I did see some at the grocery store…

But I didn’t want to go the whole summer without posting this recipe, which I made awhile back, DURING rhubarb season, from farmer’s market rhubarb with the intention of making it part of my Five Days of Farmer’s Market Meals. But since I failed to do that, I figure now is better than never right? Like most things.

And what’s summer without potato salad? It’s traditional anyways, but this summer was an even bigger hit because of this amazing Kickstarter campaign that gave potato salad the attention and fame it has always deserved.

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  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound green beans, sliced in half
  • 2 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 pound red potatoes, chopped into 1 1/2” cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6-8 tbsp dijon mustard (I like the pub style with the mustard seeds)

 

What You Do:

Simultaneously boil a large pot of salted water and heat a nonstick skillet over medium.

Once the water is boiling, add the potato cubes and lower the heat so they simmer. Cook until a fork easily goes through them.

Drain and pour potatoes into a large bowl.

In the skillet,heat the rhubarb, stirring frequently, until JUST cooked. Do not leave it in the pan for too long or else the rhubarb will become very soft. You want it to remain firm.

Add onion, green beans, rhubarb, garlic, green pepper and celery to the potatoes and stir to mix well.

Add the mustard to taste and stir well. You may find you need more mustard (or less) so add gradually and see how you feel. Taste tests are the best part of cooking!

Pro Tip: Add other vegetables, or something crazy like bacon! Everyone loves bacon, right?

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